Developer(s) – MegaDev Games
Publisher(s) – Adult Swim Games
PEGI – 12
Developed as a browser game and later ported to Steam, Super House of Dead Ninjas is a 2D platforming roguelike with randomly generated elements making each playthrough a unique experience. Players must fight their way through hordes of enemies whilst descending a tall demonic tower to defeat the game’s end boss. Expecting a very casual experience, I was delightfully surprised to learn what an addictive game it truly is and ended up spending a lot of hours playing it.
Graphics – 7.5/10
The game adopts 8-BIT graphics to create a dark fantasy world inspired by medieval England and feudal Japan. Although the game’s setting and scenery can become somewhat repetitive after a while, where this game’s conceptual design truly impresses is in the wide variety of monsters to fight. As the player progresses through the game, new enemies constantly appear for the player to have to contend with as well as differently designed versions of previous enemies to keep the variety in check. The game’s bosses are also superbly varied, which again makes each playthrough wonderfully tense as players must strategize on the spot. The game’s soundtrack, whilst I thought it was enjoyable to listen to, I also thought it was a little out of place. Personally, I think a soundtrack that was more akin to the game’s opening theme would’ve fitted better.
Gameplay – 7.5/10
The objective of the game is to descend a huge tower whilst hacking and slashing a path through a plethora of enemies in order to reach the bottom where the game’s end boss is waiting. To do so is an insanely addicting experience and since the game is for the most part randomly generated, each playthrough offers a new challenge every time down to the positions of enemies, the layout of each floor, and the boss-type the player encounters at the end of each segment. The purpose of each playthrough is to collect each of the unlocked weapons and concept art so that gameplay varied is furthermore increased offering players the scope to either try new playthroughs using different kinds of weapons or to eventually mix and match weapons and abilities in order to find the best way of traversing the tower as quickly and as unharmed as possible. For such a simplistic concept, it’s staggering to discover just how much variety and how replay value there is to be had with this title.
Controls – 9.5/10
As the game is built on a formula that has been around for almost half a century, it’s to be expected that there shouldn’t be any problems with the controls and for the most part, there isn’t; for as fast a paced game this is designed to be, everything is set up for players, particularly more seasoned ones, to make it flow as naturally and as fluently as possible. The only minor gripe I have with the control scheme is the duck mechanic. It took me a while to figure out how to duck and dash at the same time and to do so using a controller is slightly awkward, which did make me unnecessarily die a lot of the time before I finally discovered how to do it, by using both analog sticks at the same time. Even then it can mar the experience down somewhat, but thankfully, there are generally speaking very little instances within each playthrough that don’t call for the use of ducking and dashing so it’s by no means a problem to make the game unplayable.
Lifespan – 10/10
Although seasoned players will be able to beat this game within ten minutes, the randomly generated content makes for an entirely new experience every time, giving it virtually unlimited replay value. Although some players may seem like all-purpose to playing the game is lost once all weapons and abilities are unlocked, this, however, is only the beginning as players can also choose to play through the game using these different weapons every time and effectively give themselves the new challenge that comes with this.
Storyline – 6/10
As there is only the basic premise, which I’ve already covered, the game offers fairly little in terms of story. It’s very reminiscent of how the story in video games would typically be told in old 8-BIT games of the third generation; usually, players would have to rely on the manual to learn more about it, whereas, with this game, more details on the story can only be found on the game’s official website or on the Steam page. But with that, there comes the security of not knowing there are no ridiculous plot holes or bad voice acting at least.
Originality – 7/10
Although the game copies a formula that has existed for a long time, few games provide this much simplicity in design and this much variety in the gameplay at the same time. The game’s enemy design also does well to keep the game fresh throughout without things getting too repetitive and the entire basic premise in and of itself is also fairly unique. There is certainly scope to expand on the game mythology if ever the developers were to make a sequel and the original game would’ve provided enough of a springboard to make that happen.
In summation, Super House of Dead Ninjas is an immersive, addictive and insanely fun game to play. It can be played for countless hours thanks to the wonderful amount of variety in gameplay and it’s a title that I can’t recommend enough.